Rain-gutter repair is top spring job


May 28, 1994|By Gene Austin | Gene Austin,Knight-Ridder News Service

Start a spring gutter inspection by walking around the house and checking for sagging gutters, usually caused by loose fasteners or brackets, and fittings that have separated from gutters or downspouts.

Since repairs must be done from a ladder -- also needed to check for debris or clogs that can make gutters overflow and cause basement flooding --make sure it's firmly planted. If necessary, use boards under the ladder legs to provide firm support.

Clean gutters of any leaves, twigs, shingle granules and other debris. A wide putty knife or paint scraper is a good tool to use. Clean the downspout strainers or replace if they are damaged or distorted.

Loose fasteners are a problem with aluminum gutters. Sagging can be corrected by pounding the spikes back into place and/or adding new spikes for better support.

Another common fastener uses a metal strap attached to a bracket on top of the gutter. This extends under the bottom row of shingles and is nailed in place with galvanized roofing nails. To re-nail, carefully lift the shingle tab to expose the strap and nails. Shingles bend best, with less chance of cracking, on warm days.

Downspouts or fittings pulled loose by heavy snow and ice can be reassembled and held together with sheet-metal screws or rivets.

Leaks in gutters can be repaired with self-adhesive asphalt or rubber tapes, available at some home centers and hardware stores. Patches should extend for several inches on both sides of the leak.

Or cut a matching metal patch that fits inside the gutter and glue in place with plastic roof cement or waterproof silicone caulk.

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